Letter received by Lucy, Lady Cleeve, July 1817
Plas Coed, Capel Bodfan
My dear Lucy
I write again so soon after my last to ask for information. Today I received a letter from my brother, informing me (not asking, you understand) that my niece Isolde will be arriving shortly and staying “until she comes to her senses.” This is Izzy’s third season, I think, and she is as yet unwed—I suspect that my brother is being as dictatorial as ever and Izzy has rebelled. It would be helpful to know more, if there is any talk in Town that you have overheard.
From Frederick’s reference to providing funds to ‘supplement my meagre income’ while Izzy is with me, I gather that he has still not found out about my change in circumstances since I arrived here. You will understand why I did not tell him beforehand, but it was not well done of me to keep the news from him in the years since.
Yours, as ever
Letter received by Lucy, Lady Cleeve, August 1817
My dear Lucy
Well the cat is out of the bag and no mistake! Your letter informing me of Izzy’s refusal to marry Lord O arrived only a day or two before my brother! The impoverished distant relative tasked to escort Izzy here must have let drop my current circumstances, and Frederick came to take Izzy home again. Such a bad example as I must be setting her! Oh, the horror!
But I have another favour to ask, if I may. Pray see if you can assist Izzy in some way. I believe she formed an attachment in the few weeks she was with me. Frederick would definitely not approve, and is likely to have her kept under close supervision. However I think the two young people would deal very well together if left to get on with their lives without my brother’s interference.
Yours, as ever
About the Book
An Embroidered Spoon
Can love bridge a class divide?
After refusing every offer of marriage that comes her way, Isolde Farrington is packed off to a spinster aunt in Wales until she comes to her senses.
Rhys Williams, there on business, is turning over his uncle’s choice of bride for him, and the last thing he needs is to fall for an impertinent miss like Izzy – who takes Rhys for a yokel. But while a man may choose his wife, he cannot choose who he falls in love with.
Izzy’s new surroundings make her look at life, and Rhys, afresh. As she realises her early impressions were mistaken, her feelings about him begins to change.
But when her father, Lord Bedley, discovers the situation in Wales is not what he thought, and that Rhys is in trade, Izzy is hurriedly returned to London. Will a difference in class keep them apart?
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Finally, Rhys reached the outskirts of Capel Bodfan and turned down Bridge Street. A smart chaise stood outside the inn, its sides liberally plastered in mud. A man Rhys remembered as one of Morgan’s grooms stood behind it, unfastening a trunk.
A young lady stepped out of the post-chaise, clad in a pelisse of deep blue frogged with gold. A much older woman descended to the cobbles beside her and looked around, an air of faint puzzlement on her face.
Rhys cast another glance at the travellers as he dismounted by the inn door. The young woman turned her head, and Rhys gave a silent whistle of appreciation. Eyes as blue as a Spanish sky, hair the rich colour of chestnuts, and lips like red wine, all set in an oval face. She spoke to the man with the trunk, who just shook his head and walked into the inn. Rhys slung his saddle bag over his shoulder and took hold of the reins.
Her voice carried well. Rhys wondered who she was talking to as he started to lead Seren through the low arch to the stables.
“You with the horse!”
Rhys looked around. The animals from the post-chaise had already been stabled; he was the only person nearby with a horse. He turned to face her.
That expression would curdle milk.
“I’m looking for Miss Farrington, at…” The woman broke off to consult a piece of paper in her hand. “Stryd y Bont,” she added, mangling the pronunciation as most English people did. “Do you know where that is?”
Farrington? The only Englishwoman he knew around here was Mrs Lloyd.
His brow creased as a sense of familiarity nudged at his brain; he’d heard the name Farrington before.
Izzy tapped her foot as the yokel puzzled over her words. His mount was a magnificent beast, a black gelding with a white star on its forehead, but the man’s serviceable garments indicated he was from the lower orders.
Had he misunderstood her? Or perhaps he had not understood her at all—this place was deep in the heart of Wales.
“Do… you… speak… English?” She made her voice loud and clear to give him the best chance of understanding.
The man nodded, one side of his mouth curling up.
“Where is Stryd y Bont?” Was that the name of a house or a street? Had she even said the words correctly?
He took off his hat, revealing brown hair that curled loosely where it wasn’t soaked. His eyes narrowed as he scratched his head.
Was he a farmer? His skin was tanned, as if he spent a lot of time out of doors, and the mud on his steed and on his boots suggested he’d ridden some distance.
“Well?” she prompted.
“By yur, isn’t it.” He spoke in the sing-song tones of all the natives she had encountered on the journey.
“What…? What does ‘by yur’ mean?”
He pressed his lips together; the creases at their corners and beside his grey eyes gave the impression of suppressed laughter.
“This road, Miss. Bridge Street, isn’t it.”
“I asked you about Stryd…” Izzy shut her mouth with a snap, heat rising to her face as she realised that Stryd y Bont must be the Welsh for Bridge Street.
“Diwrnod da, Miss.” He knuckled his forehead and led the horse away.
Izzy’s eyes narrowed—were his shoulders shaking? He was laughing at her!
About the Author
Jayne Davis was hooked on Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer as a teenager, and longed to write similar novels herself. Real life intervened, and she had several careers, including as a non-fiction author under another name. That wasn’t quite the writing career she had in mind…
Finally, she got around to polishing up stories written for her own amusement in long winter evenings, and became the kind of author she’d dreamed of in her teens. She currently has 10 titles published, and is working on several more.
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jayne-Davis/e/B078WTF3DP